Bike Check: Benji’s Stif Squatch

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I got the Stif Squatch frame in to act as a testbed for the sort of stuff that wouldn’t quite suit my other longer-travel full-sus testbed.

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Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Bike Check: Benji’s Stif Squatch
  • zerocool
    Full Member

    Looks nice. I agree about the short cranks part and also that hardtails don’t necessarily need really steep seat angles.

    Bigmantrials
    Full Member

    The Squatch was on my radar when looking for a hardtail, I had planned to run a 150mm fork to slacken all the angles abit, it’s abit extreme as it is.

    Glad to hear it rides well though!

    kayak23
    Full Member

    Very nice that.
    I really like that little chainstay detail. I had a little spin on one at a Steel is Real demo day a while back.

    Those flattened seatstays are similar to what Production Privee do, except they do it on both seatstay and chainstay.
    Very nice feel to their hardtails.

    What’s with the step in diameter on the seattube?

    Mint dog 🐶 👍

    pisco
    Full Member

    It took me a while to get used to mine, coming from Sherpa, but it’s a superb bike.
    Personally, I can’t see the need for anything slacker, but it’s nice to have options if I need a fork upgrade sometime.

    I agree re. the ride quality with the frame; I feared moving from 853 to Chromoly might result in a harsher ride, but absolutely no problems there.

    The low BB is a blessing and a curse. Even with 165mm cranks you can get pedal strikes when doing technical climbing, but it feels amazing in terms of handling/berms. It’s worth it for me.

    My one annoyance is that it’s not conducive to standing pedalling on ups and flats; it feels a bit numb and sluggish. I suppose that’s the compromise for having an amazing descender, and I knew it was a sit’n’spin up/blast down bike when I bought it. I just wish it could transform into my gravel bike sometimes when connecting the good bits.

    colin9
    Full Member

    I have one.
    I agree with this

    The low BB is a blessing and a curse. Even with 165mm cranks you can get pedal strikes when doing technical climbing, but it feels amazing in terms of handling/berms. It’s worth it for me.

    I wouldn’t change mine.

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    +1 to that ^ despite having been ejected by pedal strikes several times. I have a 140mm Pike on mine and think a longer fork would ruin what makes the bike so good. I’m on a smaller size though, at 172cm tall I’m on a medium and unlike Benji I find the front pretty high since the low bb makes the stack that much greater

    MrAgreeable
    Full Member

    I totally get what Benji means about steep angles and ouchy hands. I’m just back from the Jennride and noticed a bit of discomfort towards the end of the second day, even with dorky carbon bars and thick grips. But the rest of me also hurt a fair bit at that point, and it climbs so incredibly well that I probably wouldn’t change it.

     

    Also worth noting that Stif are running some deals on complete bikes at the moment as they clear out the old colours (the frame is going to stay the same apparently) so now’s a good time to cop.

    rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    Built a few of those in my bike shop days, always found 140mm was the sweet spot. 160mm always felt like steering a narrow boat. But that’s on the admittedly tame trails near the shop. Calder valley is a little more extreme.

    Ben_Haworth
    Full Member

    @rOcKeTdOg what stem length(s)?

    velocipede
    Free Member

    Just in case anyone in here is interested – I’m selling mine (it’s got the “better than the Pro Reserve spec”!!) – it’s in the classifieds 👍

    rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    @rOcKeTdOg what stem length(s)

    35 to 50mm

    rodzilla
    Full Member

    I had a Squatch. Loved it! Cornered like it was on rails. But alas, the low BB meant I didn’t feel comfortable on the more techy trails where I live. Otherwise it was a great bike, one of the most comfortable frames I have ridden. I moved on to a Moxie and then to the Honzo ESD. The ESD is almost as comfortable and better suited for my area.

    dc1988
    Full Member

    Surely it’s a low stack height more than a steep seat tube angle that puts extra weight on hands.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    I agree with so much of this! This is why the hardtail I built up last year doesn’t have such a steep seat angle, doesn’t have such a low BB, and I run a long fork on it to get the BB height, seat angle, stack and reach to where I wanted.

    The geometry chart for my Moxie is quite confusing because it’s for a static 140mm fork and assumes your saddle is super low for the effective seat tube angle measurement – like most owners I’m running a 160mm fork and with the saddle up high it’s just under 75 deg before sag, so about 76-77 sagged – perfect!

    I think there’s also an argument for lower BB height on smaller frames as the shorter wheelbase benefits from the extra stability and helps with the break-over angle, and smaller riders suit even shorter cranks. And I’d argue for a mix of steeper angles (or at properly corrected for saddle height) and chainstay lengths on larger frames.

    “… I was just finding that the Squatch was too low… …My palms and my toes were taking a battering. Too much hand-pressure from the low front end. Too many times booting roots and stumps on trails from the super-low 80mm(!) drop BB.”

    I also have a hypothesis that a lower BB on a hardtail results in the rear tyre hanging up more on square edge, due to the rider’s inertia pulling the bike into the bump as the BB rotates forwards and down around the rear contact patch.

    “As bikes have got longer, I’ve been digging higher front ends and higher BBs.”

    Paul Aston has been doing some interesting testing on this front!

    “ I appreciate the oft trotted-out argument that forks with more than X amount of travel are unsuitable for hardtails due to geometry change at bottom-out yadda yadda yadda. Balls. Not true. The proof is in the riding.”

    Having ridden everything from 100 to 160mm forks on my hardtails and found I like the longest the best, I agree!

    Full-sus bikes’ angles change more when we’re riding them as both ends move independently – we just ride about this, it’s part of riding MTBs. You’re never at the end of the travel for long, it such a brief moment before all that spring force brings you back.

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